James P. Joseph represents clients on tax litigation and planning matters for Arnold & Porter LLP. Mr. Joseph represents tax-exempt organizations (including public charities, private foundations, international nongovernmental organizations, and trade associations) on business ventures, structuring and implementing complex programs, lobbying, and political activities. He represents corporate and individual donors on charitable, advocacy-related, and political giving, and also works with corporate and tax-exempt clients on governance, executive compensation, and other general tax matters.


How long should a foundation keep grantee reports?

Posted on February 19, 2016 by Andras Kosaras, James P. Joseph

Are there legal requirements, IRS or other, for foundations regarding receiving and retaining paperwork from grantees that documents how grant dollars were spent? A good rule of thumb is to keep grant materials for seven years. We suggest four years at a minimum. The IRS audit statute of limitations is three years. So, it is important to keep grant materials… Read More

Are there any lobbying red flags to look out for in final grantee reports to our foundation?

Posted on February 18, 2016 by Andras Kosaras, James P. Joseph

Are there any lobbying red flags to look out for in final grantee reports to our foundation? The foundation should look at grantee reports for lobbying flags or electioneering flags. If grantees are not following the rules it is better to know sooner rather than later. This way it can be corrected going forward. For more information, see The Rules… Read More

Recusals: When Should Board Members Excuse Themselves?

Posted on February 18, 2016 by Andras Kosaras, James P. Joseph

If five out of our six board members are on another board of a non-profit, how do we make grants to that non-profit without a majority vote? What are the rules on recusals? This is a little tricky but the members are not required to recuse themselves as long as everyone discloses their relationship with the non-profit. However, if five… Read More

How should a foundation deal with a obvious self-dealing situation if it was set up by our legal counsel?

Posted on February 16, 2016 by Andras Kosaras, James P. Joseph

If a family foundation’s attorney designs an obviously self-dealing relationship on behalf of one of the foundation’s trustees, and with the awareness and participation of all of the other foundation trustees, does the foundation remain free of liability for taxation or penalty, simply because legal counsel designed and approved the relationship? Is there any legal accountability on the part of… Read More

Is it self-dealing to attend a gala representing our foundation?

Posted on February 15, 2016 by Andras Kosaras, James P. Joseph

I have a self- dealing question. Our family foundation is being honored by one of our grantees at their upcoming gala. I have read that attending the gala under such circumstances is considered official foundation business. However, if the foundation purchases tickets for staff and board members to attend the gala, or sponsors a table, does the foundation need to… Read More

Program Related Investments and You: Perfect Together?

Posted on March 17, 2010 by James P. Joseph

As a legal concept, PRIs have been part of the laaw of charitable giving in the US since the Tax Reform Act of 1969, which restructured the rules governing the operations of charities and created a distinction between public charities and private foundations. Technically, PRIs are investments by private foundations in ventures that help to achieve the charitable goals of the foundation, but that also have elements of for-profit investments… Read More